Title An Unsuitable Duchess
Author Kathleen Buckley
Genre Historical Romance
Publisher The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
After her guardian’s death, Anne Sinclair comes to Town seeking an interesting gentleman to marry. With only a competence, she means to find a man with broad interests, rather than broad estates. But why did her guardian think it might be difficult for her to make a match? She means to find out, only to learn that the London of 1740 can be dangerous for a young lady of small fortune and inquiring mind. Lord John Anniscote unexpectedly inherits inherits the title and responsibilities of his dissolute brother, the Duke of Guysbridge, including houses, servants, tenants, and the need to provide himself with an heir. Formerly poor, cynical, and carefree, he finds himself hunted by marriage-minded females. When a plot against a young lady up from the country touches his honor, the new duke takes a hand to safeguard her reputation and repair his own.
Then Anne saw books in a window. There was no resisting the joys of a bookshop. Besides, how could a young lady fall into trouble in a bookseller’s?
“I will be some time looking at the books, I fear. Perhaps you should go to the draper to choose some ribbon,” she suggested, taking several shillings from her purse. “Something to furbish up that green dress, and get some for yourself, too. Don’t hurry back.”
Sally agreed cheerfully.
Anne slipped into the shop, noting that the proprietor was assisting someone at the back, and apart from them, it was empty. So much the better. Anne settled her spectacles on her nose and was soon deep in A Curious Herbal, a reference of plants with medicinal uses and very fine illustrations by Elizabeth Blackwell. How her grandfather would have enjoyed it! She jumped a little when someone spoke at her shoulder.
“Who would have thought a fair damsel would stoop to wear eyeglasses? Indeed, who would have believed you such an avid reader?”
“I beg your pardon, sir!”
Anne blinked at the tall, loose-jointed man smiling down at her. It was an odious smile—condescending, knowing, arrogant—the gentleman from the coffee house. He wore no wig, and his own hair was dark and without powder. His coat and breeches were of good plum-colored cloth but rather plain, except for the coat’s handsome buttons. His waistcoat was fawn silk. She approved his style if not the man himself. Anne had noted that the extreme of men’s fashion in London seemed to run to bright colors and excess ornament.
“Ah, Mistress Propriety! How well you do it, too, and no chaperon in evidence. Did it give you some trouble to find me here?”
“I believe you must have mistaken me for another,” Anne replied, clutching the large volume to her breast. She glanced toward the counter, but the bookseller was paying no attention. Why would he? The gentleman’s voice was low and would not carry so far. She could raise her voice, of course, which would attract the shop owner’s attention. But she looked no more than a servant or a girl of the middling sort. The proprietor was unlikely to take her part rather than the gentleman’s. And if there was a scene, she would never feel she could come back to the shop.
“Sir, I beg you will remove yourself, as your presence is distasteful to me.” Anne did her best to mimic the frigid tone she had once or twice heard Lady Beaton use to insolent menials.
“What have I done to offend you, I wonder? Well, I would certainly not wish to give offense to a…lady.” The tone in which the last was uttered was itself an insult. “Until we next meet.”
He gave an ironic little bow and strolled out before Anne could think to retort, “Sir, we have not yet met at all.”
The Wild Rose Press, Inc.: https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/5075-an-unsuitable-duchess.html
When she was three years old, Kathleen Buckley’s father bought a set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Big books! With all kinds of words (and pictures) in them! By the age of twelve, she knew she wanted to write fiction (she also wanted to be a journalist, a spy and a spaceperson—but NASA wasn’t accepting female spacepersons then). She never became a journalist because she hates asking pushy questions, nor a spy, because she’s not good with foreign languages, has bad eyes and is not athletic. But along the way, she worked in a hospital billing department, as a bookkeeper in a print shop, as a paralegal, and as a security officer. In semi-retirement, she began to write full-time, at least when not pursuing her other hobbies: reading, cats, cooking, costume projects, and spinning wheel repair. And no, she can’t spin. That will have to come after the spinning wheel repair…
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